Lakes in the Black Hills are stuffed full of brown and rainbow trout, walleye, perch, and crappies. With the variety and abundance of fish, the natural beauty of the area, and numerous fishing spots, the Black Hills is an oasis for fishing!

Black Hills fishing can be done year-round. Fly-fishing is best in September, October, and November. Mornings and evenings provide the best conditions with low light levels and increased insect activity. Overcast days are ideal for trout fishing.

Fishing is allowed on all lakes in the Black Hills National Forest, but make sure to check out these five locations.

Pactola Reservoir

Located 15 miles outside Rapid City, Pactola Reservoir is the largest and deepest reservoir in the Black Hills with 14 miles of shoreline. Brown, lake, and rainbow trout can be caught here. Fly-fishing and ice fishing are both available, season permitting. Facilities include a full-service marina, two boat launches, and a swimming area.

Day admission is $6 per vehicle.

Horsethief Lake

Horsethief Lake, only two miles from Mount Rushmore, is known for high-quality fishing for a variety trout. A recent project was undertaken to clean out excessive sediment to restore depth and water quality, so Horsethief Lake is better than ever!

Spearfish Creek

Spearfish Creek is the best location in the Black Hills for rainbow trout fishing. The clear creek is open for fishing year-round, because the creek flows so quickly that ice only forms at the bottom. Only miles from Spearfish Creek are lakes and streams where anglers, walleye, and largemouth bass can be caught.

Sheridan Lake

Sheridan Lake is a reservoir located on Spring Creek near Rapid City. Facilities include a marina, a beach, campgrounds, and picnic areas. Fish commonly found here include brown trout, largemouth bass, northern pike, rainbow trout, white crappie, and yellow perch. Both shore fishing and boat fishing are popular at Sheridan Lake.

Deerfield Reservoir

Deerfield Reservoir is 20 miles west of Hill City. Castle Creek flows into the reservoir, which provides another fishing area. Facilities include two boat launches and picnic areas. There is a no-wake restriction, which makes for ideal fishing conditions. Ice fishing is available, season permitting. Common fish include brook, splake, and rainbow trout.

Day admission is $5 per vehicle



For beginners, try heading to a restaurant that provides private lakes for fishing and will cook the fish after you catch it. Licenses are not needed for these facilities, and all equipment is provided. Options include Trout Haven Resort in Deadwood or the Fish ‘N Fry Campground in Deadwood.

Make sure to buy a fishing license before hitting the water. The cheapest license for resident one-day fishing is only $8. Rates increase slightly for nonresidents. Licenses can be purchased online or at many sports or fishing store locations.

Stop in at local sports shops to buy fishing equipment, licenses, and area maps. For all your fishing needs, go to Dakota Angler & Outfitter in Rapid City, The Rooster in Rapid City, or Wheel In Bait Shop in Belle Fourche.